MLB spring training at standoff with player lock-out troubles



Players, including superstar Mike Trout, await the player lock out verdict

John Anthony Risso, Crier Staff

PLAY BALL, maybe? Spring training for the next major league baseball season would usually be under way, but this season is a little different. The contract between the owners of the Major League Baseball teams and the Players Union has ended. Now the owners have locked out the players, which means that nothing can happen between the two sides except negotiations on the contract. 

As a result, spring training and the regular season will not be able to start until both sides agree on a contract. It’s so extreme that even coaches can’t talk to the players and teams can’t sign or trade for players. Essentially the main argument is over money. The player’s union is asking for more money towards minor leaguers and the smaller named players. 

The players union isn’t fighting for the big-name players who are already guaranteed money like Mookie Betts, Max Scherzer, and Mike Trout. The union is fighting for the bench players and the rookies who aren’t guaranteed money yet. The owners on the other hand obviously want to make as much profit as they can, so they want to give the least amount possible. 

The whole situation can be boiled down to a game of chicken. Which side is going to budge and give up what they want so that the season starts on time? By the time that you’re reading this there might already be a deal in place. For the season to start on time there must be a deal the week of February 21. Spring training would start shortly after and opening day to the regular season would start March 31. 

That is the best-case scenario, and any other outcome leads to a season with a late start. If I were to guess it seems unlikely that the season will start on time, but anything can happen. These bargaining sessions have already changed the game of baseball as we know it with the universal designated hitter. 

Another outcome of the meetings was the announcement of the implementation of a universal designated hitter or DH. This means that the DH will be brought to the National League and pitchers will no longer be able to hit, rather someone will be chosen to hit for them. 

This was the ruleset that has been a part of the American League since 1973 and was the major distinction between the two leagues. The universal DH is a controversial topic in the baseball fandom. Older fans don’t want it because it destroys some strategy of the game, while younger fans want the universal DH as it makes the game more exciting. 

I am in favor of the universal DH because it not only makes the game more exciting, but it also lowers the percentage of a pitcher getting hurt. I know this all too well because I am a New York Mets fan. It was rumored that Jacob deGrom got hurt while swinging the bat in the 2021 season. Swinging the bat ended his historic season early, therefore, making it less impressive. 

Pitchers aren’t paid to swing the bat; they are paid to pitch. Why are we going to risk injury of a pitcher so he can get at bats? Also, pitchers are generally poor hitters, which pretty much makes every 9th batter an automatic out. 

Replacing pitchers with a professional batter means there’s a better chance for runs, which makes the game more exciting. Whether you are in favor of or against the universal DH, it is coming either way. These bargaining sessions between the owners and the players will lead to many more changes to the game we love, but will we lose part of this year’s season in exchange? We’ll just have to wait and see.